The Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) is preparing journalists for effective and accurate reportage on Ghana‘s energy policy, by equipping them with the needed information and skills, in the likelihood that the nation goes nuclear.
The training would enhance advocacy and public education on the introduction of Nuclear Power into the country’s energy mix, to ensure better knowledge of the processes.
It would also help remove all the myths, fears, and misconceptions about nuclear power.
The NPG is, therefore, partnering the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to hold a two-day workshop for selected journalists in Accra to deepen understanding, sharpen skills, and encourage specialisation in reporting on issues related to nuclear power generation and its introduction into the energy mix.
Dr Stephen Yamoah, the Executive Director of NPG, welcoming the participants, said the role of journalists in effective communication, particularly on the processes leading to the establishment of Ghana’s first Nuclear Power Plant, was crucial to ensuring public understanding and acceptance of the project.
“It is therefore important for the media, which would drive the issues, to have a better understanding themselves, so that they could provide accurate information and education to the public to remove all the myths, fears, and misconceptions relating to nuclear power,” he said.
Mr Affail Monney, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, said the training would place journalists on the right professional footing to report with insight and nuance, while shaping the national discourse on the energy policy.
He urged media organisations to restructure their editorial character and prioritise the establishment of energy desks to play a frontal role in securing Ghana’s energy future.
Mr Johnson Opoku-Boateng, the Director of Business Development Services, Association of Ghana Industries, said apart from the challenges with procuring raw materials to feed industry, the high cost of electricity for production, compared to some neighbouring countries, translated into increased prices of goods and services.
He, therefore, said the AGI was fully committed to partnering the Nuclear Power Ghana and all other stakeholders to ensure the successful execution of the Nuclear Power Programme and the eventual construction of the Plant to derive the benefits it would bring.
Mr Abdul N. Wahab, the Manager of Generation Planning, Volta River Authority, who spoke on the VRA’s energy mix, said though the thermal, gas, and solar, among other sources, were currently enough to meet Ghana’s electricity needs, they had a time frame for exhaustion, hence the need to make alternative plans by 2025 to fill in the gap.
He, however, said private sector contribution to electricity generation and supply could be encouraged but it was not safe to leave such an important national need in the hands of foreign organisations, adding that government must take the lead by considering other sustainable sources such as nuclear power, which was long term and sustainable.
Mr Wahab said the construction of a nuclear power plant would also ensure massive job creation due to the development of local content, expansion of local industries to supply raw materials, and low cost of goods and services in the long term resulting from sustained electricity supply.
He said apart from being capital intensive at the beginning, nuclear power had numerous benefits such zero emission of greenhouse gases, which was safer, cheaper, and sustainable.
Mr Israel Laryea, a facilitator at the workshop, advised journalists to understand the concept of operating a nuclear power plant through research to effectively communicate to their audiences.
Mr Seth Kofi Debrah, the Director of Nuclear Power Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, said the plant would create more jobs for skilled personnel such as fabricators and electrical engineers, who would engage in local remoulding of components of the Plant that would need replacement after some years.